New prostitution laws to be set out today will mean a plea of ignorance is no defence for men facing prosecution for buying sex from a woman who has been trafficked or is being exploited by a pimp.
Under proposals to be published today by the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, a man who pays for sex with a woman who has been trafficked or is under the control of a pimp could face a charge of rape, which carries a potential life sentence.
A couple of quick thoughts: (1) It’s interesting that ignorance is no defense, since I’m not sure that’s the case with standard UK rape law. (Anyone out there know? I haven’t got time to check.) (2) One wonders how much effect this will have, given rape conviction rates in the UK (5.7%, last I checked).